European countries have always quenched American travelers’ thirst for cultural activities, historical landmarks, and the charming atmosphere of attraction-filled cities.

Throughout the years, overseas travelers going to Europe have heavily favored the Western and Mediterranean regions of the continent, and if recent data is anything to go by, the trend continues to prevail.

The European Travel Commission recently conducted a study among thousands of Americans planning to visit Europe between September and December of 2023.

According to its findings, these are the 5 most popular destinations right now:

5. Germany

16% of the study’s respondents named Germany as their preferred European destination this fall and winter season, placing it at No. 5.

Frankfurt, Germany skyline at night

Deutschland is a country known for its historic charm and modern architecture.

The medieval castles along the Romantic Road, the historic significance of Berlin’s Wall, and the fairytale allure of Neuschwanstein Castle all offer a glimpse into the region’s fascinating history.

Cities like Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, and Frankfurt lead the way as some of Germany’s most coveted hotspots.

While Germany’s infrastructural and architectural wonders are nothing short of awe-inspiring, it’s worth noting that the country’s natural marvels are just as deserving of international praise and attention.

The scenic landscapes of the Black Forest and the tranquility of Bavaria’s lakes will leave nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers a little short of breath.

panoramic landscape of a lake in Bavaria, Germany

German culture puts a lot of value on outdoor physical activities, and hiking is one of the most beloved hobbies among locals.

In fact, a recent study revealed that in 2021, over 6.5 million Germans claimed to go hiking at least once a month, while 5.56 million others partake in the recreational activity weekly or bi-weekly.

As a result, hiking trails here are abundant and well-thought-out; however, the Rennsteig, the Black Forest Trail, and the Partnach George Trail are among my all-time favorites.

aerial view of Black Forest, Germany

4. Spain

Between the fact that Spain just broke its all-time tourism record and the many reasons why fall makes for the perfect time to visit the Iberian country, it’s easy to understand why Americans are flocking to it in legions.

Aerial View Of Madrid, Capital Of Spain, Europe

With the promise of lively festivals, diverse landscapes, and a mix of vibrant cultures, Spain is a magnet for travelers looking to experience the charm and warmth of the Iberian Peninsula.

What’s arguably the most enticing facet of Spanish allure is the fact that all types of travelers can have the trip of a lifetime here.

Beachgoers will fall in love with Costa del Sol and Ibiza, architecture enthusiasts will marvel at the work of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, whereas history buffs can immerse themselves in the charm of Alhambra.

Gaudis La Sagrada Familia In Barcelona, Spain

However, it’s worth noting that Spain’s culinary delights play as much a role in its popularity as any other world-renowned landmark.

So, if you’re ever lucky enough to visit the gorgeous European hotspot, make it a point to try a locally-made paella or gazpacho.

3. UK

The United Kingdom is a land where timeless traditions and contemporary innovation blend seamlessly.

London, the bustling capital, is home to the world’s most famous landmarks, from Big Ben and Tower Bridge to the British Museum and Buckingham Palace.
Beautiful view of Westminister Bridge and Big Ben with Parliament Houses

Beyond London, the mystical allure of Stonehenge, the picturesque beauty of the Scottish Highlands, and the historic charm of Oxford and Cambridge provide a colorful mosaic of experiences that’ll leave even the most experienced traveler in awe.

2. Italy

If there’s one way to describe Italy it would be “a feast for the senses.”

The country is now synonymous with art, passion, and culinary excellence, offering American visitors the quintessential European experience.

Rome's skyline with mountains behind and trees in front

Between the allure of ancient Rome, the artistry of Michelangelo, the grandeur of the Vatican City, the romantic charm of Venice, and the historical ruins of Pompeii, the country is home to some of the most iconic landmarks and experiences on Earth.

1. France

With over 34% of the survey’s participants voting France as their preferred European destination, the dreamy country secured a dominant lead that, truth be told, was somewhat to be expected.

Eiffel Tower framed by fall trees

After all, the world-class art and culinary delights have helped make France the most visited country in the world.

The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Notre Dame Cathedral are beautifully complemented by the charm of Parisian cafes, the artistic allure of Montmartre, and the regal beauty of the Palace of Versailles.

VERSAILLES, FRANCE The Royal Palace in Versailles

It’s also worth noting that the ETC study linked above discovered that these were the main criteria American travelers looked for in the European destination of their dreams:

  • Culture and history
  • Great beaches
  • City life activities
  • Nature
  • Luxury shopping
  • Gastronomy experiences

With that in mind, it’s easy to see why France, a country that fits every possible requirement on this list, was crowned as the favorite.

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